Between the Lines: JWT may be spiting its face

JWT's decision to pull its business from the AAR is a strange one (page 1).

After all, the consultancy's status in the market led more than 400 industry leaders to find the time to attend its 30th anniversary party on Tuesday night.

JWT is the UK's second-biggest agency by billings. Its steep growth curve has been fuelled by international alignments including Vodafone and Samsung, so it's understandable that the agency feels that it doesn't need the likes of the AAR.

Nevertheless, JWT is cutting itself off from potential new business: in recent years, the AAR has handled business for Argos, Safeway, KFC, Sky and Tango.

JWT's move, however, is still a big blow to the AAR. It asserts Haystack's position in the market and it is also reflects a wider discontent about the AAR's service. There have been whispers of complaint about its fees and service for several months now, but all out of ear-shot of its owner, Martin Jones.

If agencies want better service from the AAR, they're going to have to ask for it directly.